Kentucky sophomore baseball standout A.J. Reed of Terre Haute South Vigo High School earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in voting by the league coaches for the recently completed season.
Reed, a left-handed pitcher/first baseman, was named All-SEC first team as the designated hitter and utility player.
Reed served as UK’s Friday night starter on the mound in 2013 and hit No. 3 or No. 4 in the batting order throughout the year. A 6-foot-4, 245-pounder, Reed hit .280 (60-for-214) at the plate with eight doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 52 RBIs.
On the mound, Reed had a 2-8 record and a 4.04 ERA in 82.1 innings, walking just 15 and striking out 52.
In his two-year career, Reed has hit .290 with 17 doubles, two triples, 17 homers and driven in 92 runs. On the mound in his career, Reed has a 7-11 record and a 3.44 ERA in 136 innings, walking 24 and striking out 103.
He has drawn obvious notice from major-league scouts, although there is still some debate over whether his professional future will be on the mound or at the plate.
There aren’t nearly as many mock drafts for professional baseball as there are for football or basketball, but Kiley McDaniel of scoutingbaseball.com has Reed as the No. 13 overall selection in his 2014 MLB free agent player draft.
Reed can only look to the case of Indiana State’s Sean Manaea about the danger of such rankings, however. Manaea dropped more than 30 spots in the draft in just a few months after an injury-plagued junior season, potentially costing himself millions of dollars.
Reed has been able to avoid major injuries in his collegiate career, but the possibility always exists.
In his player summaries, McDaniel called Reed a “solid two-way college player” and right now favors him as a hitter.
“Reed has a chance to be a professional as a hitter,” McDaniel wrote online at scoutingbaseball.com. “Reed is similar to former Florida LHP/1B and Red Sox 2012 first rounder Brian Johnson, as a big lefty with three pitches and feel on the mound for average stuff along with left-handed raw power. Reed is also very fluid at the plate, which is why an area scout told me he’s still evaluating Reed as a hitter and pitcher.”
• Local connection off to CWS — Louisville freshman relief pitcher Kyle Funkhouser recorded only one out in the Louisville 2-1 win over No. 2 Vanderbilt in the clinching game of the NCAA Super Regional on Sunday, but it was perhaps the biggest one.
Funkhouser entered the game in the top of the eighth inning, with the Cardinals ahead 2-1 and two Commodore runners on base. Funkhouser enticed the batter to hit into a groundout, and two other relievers closed out the win to send Louisville to Omaha on Saturday for a first-round matchup against Indiana.
Funkhouser is the grandson of huge Terre Haute South fan Clyde Funkhouser and the son of former South athlete Dennis Funkhouser.
He was earlier named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team, selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Funkhouser was 5-1 in relief this year with a 2.25 ERA as he struck out 51 batters with 23 walks in 52 innings. He opened his college career with 18 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
\• Meggs honored — Former Terre Haute North and Indiana State athlete Joe Meggs was recently named to the academic all-conference second team by the Pacific-12 Conference.
Meggs concluded his career at the University of Washington this spring, starting all but one game in left field and batting .298 for the 2013 season.
Meggs, who earned first-team honors in 2011 and second-team last year, boasts a 3.46 cumulative GPA in economics.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at tribstarcollege